By Heidi Stevens
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Through the lens of how Hillary Clinton is described and how Clinton describes herself, columnist Heidi Stevens tackles titles. She says, “How much should your domestic life define you? And if feminism means granting women the freedom to make our own decisions, isn’t one of them the decision to craft our own identity and narrative?”
I’ve been on Hillary Clinton Twitter watch all week, after author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie needled the former first lady/secretary of state/U.S. senator/two-time presidential candidate for listing “wife” as the first word in her bio.
“The first word that describes you is wife. And then I think it’s mom, and then grandmother. When I saw that, I have to confess I felt just a little bit upset,” Adichie told Clinton during an onstage dialogue at Sunday’s PEN America World Voices event, where Clinton gave a lecture.
“Then I looked at your husband’s Twitter account,” Adichie continued, “and the first word was not husband.”
“When you put it like that,” Clinton replied, “I’m going to change it.” The crowd, according to Jezebel, erupted in cheers.
She hasn’t changed it.
Should she? I don’t know. I’m certainly not the gatekeeper of other people’s Twitter bios, but I think it’s an interesting point to ponder.
Bill Clinton’s Twitter bio, for the record, reads, “Founder, Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States. Follow @clintonFdn for more on my work around the world.”
Barack Obama’s reads, “Dad, husband, President, citizen.” Michelle Obama’s reads, “Girl from the South Side and former First Lady. Wife, mother, dog lover. Always hugger-in-chief.”
They’re Twitter bios. They’re more cutesy than comprehensive. Silly trumps stuffy.
But I think what Adichie was getting at was our national need to soften and maternalize Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go along with it, however reluctantly.